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From English student to English speaker

Course: Weekly lessons, Unit: Language

  • 70 mins
  • In class
  • Listening
  • B1, B2, C1


Learning goals:

  • Understand and respond to recordings of people talking about what it's like to learn English and live in a foreign country
  • Analyse a recording of a non-native speaker for non-standard pronunciation and grammar
  • Practise working on problem sounds in English
  • Discuss the importance (or not) of accents in English and your language

Published by

EF Education First


Success criteria:

  • Correctly answer questions on details from recordings of people talking about what it's like to learn English and live in a foreign country
  • Identify pronunciation and other errors in one of the recordings
  • Correctly articulate and distinguish between pairs of problem sounds in English
  • Make appropriate contributions in a discussion on accents in English and your language, and respond to others

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Activities (11)

Introduction

Introduction

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Class
  • Core
  • Discussion


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

No instructions

 

Warm up

Warm up

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Class
  • Core
  • Video


Student instructions

Watch the video and discuss the questions:
1. On a scale of 0–10 (0=impossible), how easy is it to understand this person?
2. Why did you choose this score?


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce the topic of non-native English speakers, their accents, and unusual features of their use of English.
Suggested answers
1. According to students' opinions but are likely to be low scores.
2. For low scores, students could mention pronunciation, e.g. of specific sounds like /ð/ as /d/ and /ə/ as /i:/, so 'the' becomes /di:/; use of vocabulary from his L1 (Portuguese), e.g. 'equipe' for team; syntax or grammar errors, e.g. 'opportunity for to score'.

 

Lead in

Lead in

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Core
  • Discussion


Student instructions

Think about native and non-native English accents and discuss the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to reflect further on native and non-native varieties of English, especially with regard to pronunciation. It will also prepare students further for the Listen 1 and 2 activities.
Suggested answers
1. Examples may include travel, work, playing online games or socialising (online or off). It's worth mentioning that even visiting or living in an English-speaking country often involves communicating with many non-native speakers. In an international city like London or New York people may work in predominantly non-native workplaces, and socialise with mainly non-native English speakers.

 

Listen 1

Listen 1

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Group, Class
  • Core
  • Text entry, open


Student instructions

You will be assigned a recording of a non-native speaker to listen to.
1. Listen once to get used to the accent and get a general idea of what the speaker or speakers are saying.
2. Listen again and answer the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to understand some details from oral interviews with non-native English speakers.
Students only need to listen to one recording. Assign different recordings to different groups so that each recording has a similar number of listeners.

 

Listen 2

Listen 2

Recommendations

  • 8 mins
  • Individual, Pair, Group, Class
  • Core
  • Writing, open


Student instructions

Listen to your recording again and try to identify errors of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. Decide which of these could be related to the first language of the speaker(s) and which are more general.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to analyse the least intelligible audio from Listen 1 to identify why it is more difficult to understand. You will need to select one of the recordings based on the intelligibility ratings students gave in Listen 1.

 

Respond

Respond

Recommendations

  • 8 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Core
  • Discussion


Student instructions

Think about the last recording you heard and discuss the questions. You do not need to use all the words.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to respond to the audio from Listen 2 by discussing feelings about the speaker(s), the basis for their intelligibility issues, and strategies to help them.
Suggested answers
Students may have felt frustrated at how hard they had to concentrate, may have been more sympathetic, or even have found some aspects endearing.

 

Sound vs Spelling

Sound vs Spelling

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Support
  • Matching, closed


Student instructions

Match the sounds to the words, focusing on the underlined sound in each word.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to recognize irregular sound and spelling combinations in English. It will help students familiarize themselves with some key sounds, and their phonemic symbols, for the Minimal pairs activity.
Students can consult the pronunciation chart to relate the symbols to sounds.

 

Minimal pairs

Minimal pairs

Recommendations

  • 12 mins
  • Individual, Group
  • Support
  • Writing, open


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to focus on problem sounds that learners find difficult to produce or distinguish between. Students may need guidance initially in selecting relevant sounds.
The first stage can be done in groups, but stage 2 should be individual. It will be useful to ensure that students are not all focusing on the same minimal pair. Also make sure that students choose words their partners will know.

 

Tongue twisters

Tongue twisters

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Challenge
  • Writing, open


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to further develop awareness of problem sounds for the students, and to provide additional practice articulating them.
Begin by asking if students know any tongue-twisters in English or their own language. Allow them to search for some English examples online for inspiration.The aim of this activity is to study connecting words used in the text and do a short practice activity.

 

Follow up

Follow up

Recommendations

  • 8 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Challenge
  • Discussion


Student instructions

Think about the issues raised in today's lesson and discuss the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to discuss some of the issues raised in the lesson in more depth.
Culture notes
The attachment of value to different accents and dialects can sometimes show class, gender or racial prejudice. This part of the discussion may need to be monitored closely.

 

Exit ticket

Exit ticket

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual
  • Core
  • Text entry, open


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is for students to review and practise using a new word that they learned during the lesson.

 
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